Jeremy Arkin grew up in the suburbs outside of Chicago before moving to Boulder, Colorado where he received a bachelor’s degree in EBIO (Evolutionary Biology and Ecology) and Geography. Aside from normal coursework, his first professional experience in forestry was the completion of his honors thesis under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Veblen where he analyzed the upper montane tree regeneration following the 2002 Hayman Fire. After graduation he worked as a Forestry and GIS Technician for Boulder County Parks & Open Space as well Colorado Parks & Wildlife where he was able to gain insight on how to properly manage land in accordance with the very best methods and research available.
These experiences helped him to explore what kind of research he wanted to complete in graduate school as well as what kind of career he wanted to pursue afterwards, both of which he hopes will facilitate the coalescence of sound science and land management. His research with the IRSS will allow him to work closely with a Vancouver-based remote sensing company to analyze and develop the applications of drones within forestry, which will be used to inform land management and forestry operations.
Growing up in an outdoorsy family in the outdoorsy little city of Nelson, BC, Bethany had little choice but to fall in love with lakes, rivers, mountains, and forests. She loves exploring and discovering more about the intricacies and beauty of the natural world, which she considers God’s Masterpiece. She decided that a career in wildlife/conservation sounded like a good excuse to spend more time in and learning about nature, and has so far enjoyed her summers working in environmental consulting. After graduating high school Bethany moved to the Big City of Kelowna, BC, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Biology. Now she is excited to up the ante again with her graduate studies at the IRSS lab where she will be building models of grizzly bear response to roads. She’s a bit wary of all the people and a campus six times the population of her home town, but locals encourage her that there are many places to escape. Bethany looks forward to spending her time growing to love Vancouver by experiencing the hiking, biking, kayaking, and maybe even some culture. When she needs to hole up and introvert for a while Bethany enjoys reading, walks in the woods, and singing while she pretends to play guitar.
Francois du Toit
Francois du Toit was born in Pretoria, South Africa, and moved to Vienna, Austria aged 9. After stumbling across a UBC recruitment meeting and consequently being impressed by both the university’s academic standing and sporting proficiency, he decided that Vancouver looked like a great place to be.
Francois undertook a B.Sc. in Geology and played Varsity Rugby for the Thunderbirds, and it was during this time that he got his first taste of GIS and its potential for use in both geology and geography. After graduation, Francois spent some time working in Vancouver before finding a job with a geological exploration company in the Northwest Territories. The creation of the MGEM program drew Francois back to UBC as he looked to expand his skill set and learn more about remote sensing. The experience ultimately led him to the IRSS lab where he will be pursuing a PhD related to very high point density LiDAR and tree modelling.
Alex Graham was born and raised in North Vancouver, BC and is an alumni of the UBC Varsity Baseball Program and graduate of a Bachelor of Arts in Geography – Environment and Sustainability (2016). Alex enjoys pushing his aptitude for spatial analysis by continuously exploring new GIS software with passion for open-source. His more recent experiences include completion of the BCIT GIS Advanced Diploma program, preceded by a work-learn position in the IRSS.
Alex is motivated to be proficient in open-source GIS application design and deployment to take advantage of the growing demand for automated, low-cost GIS solutions. In his upcoming MSc studies, Alex intends to examine programmatic methods and flight parameters for building forest and terrain models derived from UAV photos and their subsequent photogrammetric point clouds in varying forest and terrain conditions. As hobbies, Alex enjoys skiing, playing guitar and writing code for side projects.
Samuel Grubinger is from the Green Mountains of Vermont, where he grew up playing in the woods, hanging out on small farms, and poring through atlases. He studied Environmental Sciences and Geography at the University of Vermont, where he got hooked on GIS and held a job in the Spatial Analysis Lab digitizing land cover in between classes. Through field courses in Vermont and travels abroad, he became fascinated with how humans shape natural landscapes.
After his BS, he moved to Berkeley, California, where he worked as a technician on the Marin Carbon Project, got excited about carbon sequestration, and spent a lot of time with grad students. Most recently, he has been living in Panama as an intern at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, mapping tree canopy changes from drone imagery and collecting field data on Barro Colorado Island. He is also a potter, photographer, language nerd, and plant dad.
Sam grew up between the fens of eastern England and the dry climes of Northern California. Sam fled, at the age of 18, to the countryside of Wales to complete an undergraduate degree in Ecology at Bangor University. While in university, he took a year out to research the anthropogenic influences on tropical orchids in China. After graduating, Sam spent a short time researching dragonflies in Ugandan caldera lakes before starting a forestry internship in eastern Oregon for the US Bureau of Land Management and the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Sam is interested in using remote sensing and machine learning to improve our abilities to collect ecological data and inform public decisions.
Sam once crashed an electric scooter into a greenhouse proving that a low carbon footprint is not always best for the environment.
Lukas was born and raised in Ajax Ontario, a suburb just outside of Toronto. He grew up playing hockey and baseball and remains a faithful Toronto Maple Leaf and Blue Jays Fan. He spent summers during high school with family on Haida Gwaii and eventually got sick of the Ontario winters and permenantly moved to BC to attend UBC. Lukas is pursuing a B.Sc in Natural Resource Conservation within the faculty of forestry. He is interested in exploring the applications of remotely sensed data for use in traditional forest management. Lukas is also a distance runner for the UBC track team. He enjoys running, hiking and doughnuts in his free time.
Nick Leach is a dyed-in-the-wool Pacific Northwest local. Born and raised in the Seattle area, Nick originally came to Vancouver in 2011 for his BSc in Physics and Astronomy, where he studied planetary astrophysics. After dabbling in different jobs– including working at a particle accelerator and a private medical devices lab– he eventually fell in love with satellite remote sensing and image processing. His research at IRSS will explore possibilities for using high-resolution commercial satellite data to quickly identify and understand forest disturbances.
Outside of the lab, Nick is a trail and ultrarunning junkie. He’s always looking for new ways to play outdoors, whether it’s running, climbing, scrambling, surfing, or just crawling into his trusty sleeping bag. He has also been known to pluck a tune on the banjo and has a lot of opinions about board games.
Shangrong Lin grew up in Guangzhou, a major city in Southern China known for its Cantonese culture. He obtained a BSc in geographical information system in South China Normal University, and then he moved to Beijing, the capital of China, to pursue his Master’s and PhD in the Institute of Remote sensing and digital earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences. After spending three years on his PhD in Beijing, Shangrong moved to UBC to work on a one-year research project at IRSS. His research at IRSS will explore the relationship between tower-based reflectance and canopy photosynthesis, which expands on the work of his idol, Thomas Hilker. Now his research interest is using ground-based instruments, such as radiometer, to understand the dynamics of carbon flux in forest ecosystems and developing new methods to estimate large-scale gross primary productivity with satellite data.
During his spare time, Shangrong loves swimming, hiking, and playing soccer. He enjoys travelling and wants to experience a different lifestyle in Canada.
Cam grew up just outside of small town Hinton, Alberta. Having spent most of his young life exploring the backcountry of the Wilmore Wilderness Park on horse back he knew he wanted to pursue a career in wildlife research and conservation. After completing his BSc in Environmental Earth Sciences at the University of Alberta he was able to realize this goal with the fRI Research Grizzly Bear Program. Cam spent four summers and a one year internship with the program working on projects ranging from population dynamics to predation. When not working with the fRI Cam split his time between travelling and ski bumming.
Wishing to expand his knowledge base, Cam will be working with the IRSS lab as an MSc candidate. He will be assessing how habitat availability influences space-time patterns of movement and survival of grizzly bears at fine spatial and temporal scales as well as differentiating movement patterns associated with different levels of landscape connectivity.
Chris was born in Illinois and raised in Texas, where he lived for 13 years. Following years of camping and too much running, Chris developed his passion for the outdoors and dreamed of moving west and living in the woods to learn more about the complicated ecosystems that only existed in pictures. Having finally been cooked to a medium rare in the sweltering Texas heat, Chris left to begin studying at the University of Oregon, where he would go on to earn a BSc in Environmental Science. There, Chris explored his interests in forest biology and geospatial technologies, eventually landing an undergraduate research assistantship under Dr. Chris Bone, investigating topics such as Mountain Pine Beetles, socioeconomic measures of poverty, US Forest Service supply chains, and forest treatments in the American West. Chris’s MSc research at UBC is part of the AWARE program and will examine the ability of ALS LiDAR to assess product mix in forest stands. He hopes to use this information to inform the decisions of forest managers and timber companies in order to improve the health and sustainability of forest resources.
Chris looks forward to life in Vancouver which includes lots of running, camping, eating, and pretending to understand hockey.
Rik grew up in the Netherlands, not far from Antwerp. His interest in knowing more about communities, cultures, and economies in relation with the environment lead him to study human geography at Utrecht University. He enjoyed GIS and spatial analysis and decided to stay on this path by following the Information Management and Applications (GIMA) MSc. program in Utrecht. During his Masters degree, he worked on UAV-based crop productivity monitoring at Wageningen University and UAV-based individual tree measurements as a Visiting International Research Student at the IRSS. Currently, Rik is a PhD candidate at the IRSS and is interested in the use of remote sensing to support ecological restoration and inform decision making. He enjoys the outdoor possibilities Vancouver has to offer and the beautiful landscapes of BC.
Brandon is originally from California but he moved to Texas as soon as he could. Raised in Dallas, he graduated secondary school in 2008 and started school at Texas A&M University. He joined the US Army after 3 semesters, serving as a light infantryman with the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, New York. From 2011-2012 he deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in support of NATO International Security Assistance Forces. After leaving the Army, he returned to Texas A&M where he graduated with a double major in Spatial Sciences and Forestry. After an internship analyzing satellite imagery with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, his interests in remote sensing and geospatial technologies were confirmed, leading him to the IRSS at UBC.
Brandon enjoys international travel with his wife Christina, but on a typical night you’ll find him doing some online gaming. His research at the IRSS will use LiDAR to analyze the impacts of changes in forest structure on grizzly bear movement and survival.
Martin grew up in the French Alps, spending most of his time hiking and skiing in the mountains. His desire to learn more about his environment lead him to study Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland), where he received a Bsc and Msc. During the last six months of his Masters degree, he worked on his thesis as a Visiting International Research Student at UBC, combining topographic shading modeling with spatial interpolation of shortwave solar radiation for snowmelt modeling.
Martin developed a strong interest in spatial analysis and the use of remote sensing for environmental monitoring. Thrilled about his experience at UBC, he decided to come back and join the IRSS as a PhD student. His research will focus on the use of Single Photon Lidar for forest inventories. He will also combine Lidar and Landsat data to quantify the impacts of wildfires in BC.
Lukas grew up in a village in Austria, not far from Vienna. He occasionally helped his father with managing the family forest. He spent countless hours walking through the woods, marking trees, planting trees, erecting fences and crunching numbers for the tax office. During this time he first came into contact with remote sensing when he used aerial photographs to delineate land use maps in order for his father to receive Common Agricultural Policy subsidies. He attended mechanical engineering school for five years and then served his country as an ambulance technician for nine months. After that he left for the Netherlands to pursue a BSc in Aerospace Engineering. During this he spent a semester doing a minor in forestry at UBC. It was there that he re-discovered his passion for forestry and as the Netherlands were way to flat for a mountain boy like him anyways, he decided to return and join the IRSS.
During his master’s he will look into biomass quantification, change detection, camouflaged vehicle detection and/or species identification using multispectral optical and synthetic aperture radar images from Urthecast’s satellites. In his free time, Lukas spends as much time as possible in the North Shore Mountains with the Varsity Outdoor Club. He especially likes ski touring and hiking but he is open to try many new things.
Max is the son a forester, raised under the towering sand cliffs and the dense hardwood forests of Northern Michigan. He graduated from Michigan State University in the Summer of 2013 with a B.S. in Forestry, concentrating in Forest Conservation and Environmental Studies. While at MSU, Max participated in research projects including the development of genetically modified poplar for biofuels, firewood sterilization, and commercial Christmas tree production. After graduation, Max worked in Northern Lower Michigan as a district forester, as well as a professional consulting forester, assisting private landowners in the scientific and ethical management of their forests. Max maintains the credentials of Candidate Certified Forester with the Society of American Foresters. Attending graduate school has been a long-time goal of Max’s, with his motivation to join the IRSS Lab stemming from his experiences in the forest products industry. Max is currently pursuing his M.Sc. degree. He is working with a local Vancouver remote sensing start-up to develop innovative UAV applications for forest management. Max is an avid outdoorsman, enjoying camping, hiking, fishing, and good beer.